Context: Contemporary Nicaragua offers an important field for researchers interested in the socio-political struggles that have been ongoing across Latin America, from Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia, Argentina to Brazil, since the end of the so-called Pink Tide around 2013. What are the roles of the universities in exploring the links between multiple forms of violence in the historical past, and the memory activists who seek to embed remembrance of aspects of the violent past and accountability for present human rights violations as a tool for the construction of a democratic society? Nicaragua offers a fruitful space for work on this field, with contemporary relevance to parallel processes elsewhere, because of the confluence between social protest, state repression, and the struggles for control of the historical narrative.
Activities: This meeting, to take place in the Netherlands, December 2019, takes advantage of a series of international events on related themes at the Institute of Social Studies, organised in collaboration with Silke Heumann of the Civic Innovation Research Initiative, and the Nicaragua-Netherlands Solidarity Network, will create a unique space for critical reflection, network-building and capacity-strengthening for experts on emotions and violence in Nicaragua and beyond. The events, have been designed together with partners who are the main contributors with their expertise and their demands for a space to exchange and critically reflect with potential collaborators. Participants will share their experiences from Nicaragua, providing up to date knowledge of the conditions for researchers in this field, and reflection on methods and the possibility of an institutional framework for ethical partnerships in violent conflict situations. They will dialogue around violence, emotion and memory, and how these lead into (and might shape) understandings of rights, duties justice and peace in the future.
Outcomes: Outcomes of this event will include: strengthened networks amongst the participants, who usually tend to work in relative isolation because of the obstacles imposed by state repression, poor infrastructure and lack of resources; stronger capacity to design programmes and develop research as a result of shared best practices; renewed critical thinking with regards to the role of universities in conflicts shaped by political violence; and a realistic assessment of the feasibility of a collaborative research project between the University of Bristol and activist-researchers on the ground. In addition to the PI from University of Bristol, we will have academic colleagues from The Netherlands, and the participants from Nicaragua who will come from social movements, student campaigns and journalism: the very front-line of action- orientated research in violence, emotions and memory in contemporary political crisis.